Merck opens new plant in southern Taiwan

Rebecca Kuo, Kaohsiung; Eifeh Strom, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: Merck

Merck, which supplies chipmaking chemicals and materials, has inaugurated a new plant in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. The plant will triple production capacity for the Asian market.

John Lee, managing director of Merck Group in Taiwan, expects Taiwan will continue to play a pivotal role in the semiconductor industry in the future due to its strength and comprehensiveness, which will be difficult to replace in the short term.

Merck opened its new Kaohsiung plant on Oct 26, becoming one of four major R&D and production bases for Merck's semiconductor specialty gases and materials. The new plant is located next to SAFC Hitech Taiwan's Kaohsiung plant. Combined with the existing film R&D and production capacity, Merck will be able to provide integrated semiconductor process solutions to customers.

Last December, Merck announced plans to invest NT$17 billion (US$530.44 million) in Taiwan over the next 5-7 years, significantly expanding the production and R&D capacity of its semiconductor technology business in two phases. The new Kaohsiung plant is the first phase. It was noted that the construction of the new plant was completed within 10 months.

Through the investment plans, Merck can fill the gap in upstream materials and equipment in Taiwan's semiconductor industry, Lee explained.

Benjamin Hein, general manager and head of delivery systems and services for Greater China and Southeast Asia at Merck, said that Merck is committed to supporting its customers' business development plans. He added that expanding its product portfolio will help provide customers with advanced semiconductor material supply.

The new plant, which includes an R&D lab and multi-functional production lines, will help Merck respond to customer needs more quickly, as well as drive innovation. The new plant is also reserving flexibility for future expansion while also helping customers grow with customized solutions.

In regard to sustainability, Merck pointed out that the localized production will reduce carbon emissions created by transportation and the new plant's liquid crystal smart windows can adjust the amount of sunlight entering a room to reduce energy consumed by lighting and air conditioning. The new plant is also equipped with solar panels. In the future, 20% of the power consumed by the plant will come from solar energy. The plant will also continue to expand renewable energy applications.

The diversification of end applications and the coexistence of multiple generations of advanced manufacturing processes have reduced the severity of expected replacements, according to Lee. He expects growth and development in the semiconductor industry to be less extreme in the future.